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My Opinion On Ganondorf

(I played Brawl years ago, and have not played a Smash Bros. game since, so feedback is not only appreciated, but is also helpful. THIS IS NOT A GUIDE; I am simply sharing my view from what I have experienced.)

Few characters get as much flak for overall viability in competition as Ganondorf. Why is this? If we list the most obvious facts, it is because he lacks projectiles, travelling speed, and lasting hitboxes, and HAS a large figure, plenty of end/start lag on attacks, and poor recovery.

However, I want this mostly to be convincing of his usefulness, so I shall skip to the better part.

If we look at Ganondorf's moveset carefully, we see (POINT 1) that a good summary is 'power in many flavors.' What do I mean? Ganondorf may be limited in the number of 'tricks' he can perform (launch projectiles, reflect them, counter, store punches for later...) we find that Ganondorf has a very diverse arsenal of attacks for a brawler.

The diversity of his moveset in close combat is very useful for close-quarters mix-ups, which is very appropriate because (POINT 2) Ganondorf is challenged both on defense and offense-- defense for aforementioned reasons, and offense because he is generally unsafe against shielding opponents. Therefore, he cannot commit to offense or defense strictly, and he must wait for the opponent to lower their guard, say when they are on the attack.

(POINT 3) Because of Ganondorf's awful defensive qualities, he cannot camp safely, but he also cannot be rash, so there is a 'sweetspot' where the opponent leaves their guard to attack, and this is the moment Ganondorf needs. Thus the problem for Ganondorf in battle is eliciting such an action.

(POINT 4) Despite what most will say, I think it is not all bad that Ganondorf is well below average in the speed department. By forcing the player to wait after an attack as part of what I call 'fourth-wall assistance,' more time is spent by the player preparing for their next move, should they be willing. Also, the slower a character runs/walks, the less of an obligation it is for the player to commit to an attack when approaching from a moderate distance. Finally, unlike Captain Falcon, Ganondorf has, as a result of his lagging attacks and slow ground/air speed, reasonable 'rush control,' a term I made up to describe the property of a character that enables them to land hits reliably without attacking prematurely or overshooting an aerial

Combining points 1,2, 3, and 4, Ganondorf is a powerhouse trickster who thrives on mind games. The key, therefore, to excelling in Ganondorf's gameplay is to keep the opponent scrambling for the whole match, not giving them time to think, but also not rushing them. I would think of Ganondorf specialists as those who know how to give the opponent what I stylistically call 'faux? pressure.' The discipline stresses approaching the opponent with no intention of attack until they advance, at which point the player must in response offer an unpredictable intercept, afforded by his diverse moveset, which contains moves that overlap with each other in purpose sufficiently that no one move is the only solution to a problem, but are also separate of each other in purpose enough that Ganondorf has a tool to use for virtually any close to mid-range scenario.


Well enough. I know this is a very quirky evaluation, but I hope it is helpful. It certainly helped me. Tell me your thoughts!
Doc Monocle
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Yeah, this pretty much sums it all up. gonna send this to my friend who keeps arguing with me over this. I will offer though if your opponent knows how to outplay gannon and just knows how to deal with all his tools, and especially if they play a fast character, a sword character, or a campy type character, and they are good with this type of character and are not just trying to "counterpick", gannon just kinda losses y'know. (I pocket gannon so I'm no expert but anyways just my feedback) Great article though!
Doc Monocle
Doc Monocle
Thank you. As far as Ganondorf's match-ups go, I think his best methods to counter are to negate the strengths of his opponents by the simplest method possible-- staying out of attack range with every ounce of effort. I believe Ganondorf works at his best in any match-up when the focus is to take every opportunity to clear Ganondorf's space. I like to think of it as treating Ganondorf as a fragile and ranged character, even though he is not. Eventually the opponent will make some committment; some error in movement that causes them to come just close enough to be struck by Ganondorf without being in the right position to hit him first. Even Warlock Punch is an encapsulation of this mindset, though it is one of the hardest moves to line up.
As a fellow Ganon Player. This is correct. The addiction of his play style is the chess level playing mind games needed. Arsenals of feints and bluffs, while messing with your fast fall speeds to build up patterns then interrupt them. Coupled with KO power and knowing your hit priority.

It's a high that few things can compare to...
Doc Monocle
Doc Monocle
Thank you for the response. It is difficult to submit a relevant resource using strictly Brawl experience from years ago.
Really tells a good way for dorf to be played and gives insight on how he should be approaching a match.
Doc Monocle
Doc Monocle
Try it. Only current players could determine whether the analysis is dusty or not.
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